Life & Health

Legislators Reject Investigation of Kidney Failure in Guanacaste

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The members of the Human Rights Commission of the Legislative Assembly rejected a motion to start an investigation into the increase in cases of kidney failure in Guanacaste.

The motion was made by the fraction of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) but did not have the support of the National Liberation legislators.

The motion was intended to investigate the causes responsible for the increase in the occurence of Chronic Renal Failure Syndrome in the province. The basis for rejecting it was that the Human Rights Commission is not investigative and only has authority to interpose denunciations.

Juan Carlos Mendoza García, PAC legislator, described that argument as unacceptable: “a Commission which interposes denunciations cannot do so if it does not first investigate the case that it plans to denounce,” he indicated.

“It is regrettable that the National Liberation party has no willingness to discuss a topic of public health. Many sugarcane workers and their families suffer from this disease. It is necessary to investigate whether public institutions are assuming their responsibilities of follow-up and control,” said legislator Yolanda Acuña Castro.

According to official data, the number of patients with this disease just in Guanacaste has tripled, and most of them are men under 50 years old who work in agriculture, such as cutting sugar cane. More than 400 cases of this disease have been reported in the area.

The Human Rights Commission will convene again on Wednesday,  September 11 at 10 a.m. Legislators Mendoza García and Acuña Castro will insist on the urgency of opening the investigation, despite the blockade from the National Liberation fraction.

In simple terms, chronic kidney disease is a condition in which kidney function is gradually lost over time. Once kidney failure occurs, the patient is unable to remove wastes and excess fluids from the blood, resulting in the need for dialysis. In this artificial process, a patient is connected to a machine that filters the blood.

Possible factors that could be linked to the disease are pesticide and agrochemical exposure; consumption of home-brewed alcohol (known as guaro casero); overuse of pain medication and the region’s drinking water and soil conditions.

Many people with chronic kidney disease have no symptoms until they’ve reached advanced stages. When present, these are nonspecific symptoms such as: lack of appetite, headache, generally not feeling well, itching, nausea and weight loss. The only way of determining if you are experiencing this condition is through a lab test.